The band Positronic, of which I'm a member, played a gig last Friday. It was the first time we've played a gig since last December 15th. The gig was at the Barleycorn Hotel, and not at the Soak Bar as previously assumed. Usually, we get to the venue early and have plenty of time to set up and do a sound-check. But this time, because we were not the first band on, it was all a bit more rushed.
This girl wasn't there.
The Barleycorn is a small venue – it's not like they have a room backstage where the band can store their equipment or relax before the performance. It's one of those places where musicians have to use the front door like everyone else, and carry their equipment through the crowd to the stage. And the place was already pretty crowded by the time we arrived there. The band before us were called Kanvas Grey. They had just two musicians – a drummer and a guitarist, and their music had quite a hard, heavy edge to it. They sounded nothing like us.
Our guitarist Scott arrived while they were playing – I didn't recognise him at first because he had a way-out hairstyle – he looked a bit like this:
(ink drawing of Scott)
We had to set up our equipment in a hurry after they finished. Some parts of our set-up are quite complicated. There's so many things that can go wrong, with the electronics, and the mini-disc backing – and there are so many mics and inputs to sort out, it's very difficult to get the balance right with all the levels at the mixing desk. When we're playing and my keyboard seems too loud, I'm wondering, "Should I turn it down? Maybe it sounds okay out there, even if it sounds too loud where I'm standing –" But I think this time, we managed pretty well despite the time and space restrictions.
I took this photo mid-song
Positronic is an electronic band. With the music we have so far, I think we sound similar to Garbage, Madonna, Morcheeba and Macy Gray. There isn't much support on the local live-music scene for this sort of music, and there aren't any local bands similar to us. So it's hard to find our place – we know there's lots and lots of people out there who would like us if they heard us, but getting ourselves known is the difficult thing. Apparently we were offered a record deal some time ago, but we turned it down 'cause it was one of those "bad" record deals.
When you think electronic dance-music, you usually think of DJs in night-clubs, not bands in hotels. But on Saturday night I went to see a band that does extremely good dance music, without any sequencing or backing-track, and there are only two of them, a drummer and a keyboard player. They are amazing to watch, and dance to, and they're quite successful – they're called The Bird.
I saw them at Revolver Upstairs, in Prahran. They played dance music for two hours. The drummer was the front-man with the mic. He had so much energy, and so much enthusiasm, and yet so much precision in his timing, you wouldn't believe it. The keyboard player provided bass and analog electronic sounds. Towards the beginning of the set, they had a bit of a problem – the keyboards stopped working. So there was a big worry while they tried to figure out how to fix the problem. But the drummer didn't stop drumming – he just kept right on going, improvising on the drums, vocalizing as well, until the keyboards started working again. You see, the crowd was dancing from the get-go and the atmosphere was already charged with positive energy – the drummer didn't let the mood slip one bit during the technical glitch.
Despite being all dancey, The Bird have a lot of variety in their beats. They played Cuban style in one song (where the keyboardist came over to the drum kit and hit different parts of it from the side), they had one song that was sort of 6/8 but it had the accent on beats one and five – and then there was this one song I could have sworn was in the time-signature 21/16. That's wild. And they had this guest appearance from a guy who specializes in making drum sounds with his mouth, and he also made techno-analog-synth sounds with his mouth, and when he was finished doing that, up came the trombone. He was amazing. And that was mostly improvised. The Bird made the crowd very happy – we were dancing like maniacs, riding on a natural high. Actually I think some of the crowd were riding on an unnatural high.
Earlier, a girl had come up to me (while I was sitting down) and she asked me "Do you know where I could get some Ecstasy?" At first I didn't understand – I thought she was asking where the exit is. But eventually I said no, 'cause I don't know anything about that. Later, I heard the girl asking the same question of at least two other people. Mmmm, that girl must have been clueless.
So, how about that war in Iraq? That must be pretty exciting. Maybe I should make some sort of political comment. Everyone else is giving their opinions about it. But I just don't really care. I guess the war is wrong – it disrupts the TV schedule and it's just plain wrong. The other day, I wanted to watch "rage" on the ABC, at night, but it wasn't on because there was war news on instead. And it's really boring – all those so-called experts talking about military manoevures and politics. They try to spice it up with a bit of computer graphics showing which way the soldiers are invading, but not enough. They should show 3D graphics all the time, showing a real-time simulation of the battle with little 3D army men running around through explosions and stuff – that would be a more entertaining war. It would be more like a game, then, and we could detach ourselves.
Flash animation – move your mouse over the brown things – and don't forget to try clicking on 'em, too
There was a documentary on Channel 2 this evening, on the True Stories program, about these two children in America who are conjoined twins (see this link). To look at them, you'd think it was a girl with two heads. But it's actually two girls. They share the same pair of legs. This is kind of a "miracle of nature" – they are healthy, they can run around and play volleyball, they can talk normally – you wouldn't even call them disabled. They go to a normal school. But to see these girls, with their two heads growing out of what looks like one body, you just can't look away 'cause it's so fascinating – you feel like you're watching something impossible, they way they move – and you'd think they'd be a little uncoordinated, seeing as how both brains control the legs, but they aren't. That was a happy documentary, and it warms the heart. I wish there was conjoined twins in my family.
not my picture – borrowed
I had this dream, a few nights ago, that a doctor told me I had some sort of terminal disease and I only had an hour and a half to live. And I woke up thinking, if I only had an hour and a half to live, what would I do and how would I spend my remaining time before death? The answer is, I would probably listen to the CD "Back To Mine" by Everything But The Girl. It's a compilation of songs that are mixed and combined together in such a way that they create a beautiful atmosphere, and all the songs have a lot of reverb and delay which make them sound "deep" and dream-like. It's mostly electronic music, and it makes me feel good even if I'm sitting perfectly still with no dancing. So there's no better music to listen to as I drift peacefully off into oblivion.
Historical photo of the week:
Stephen Clark, two years old
This Wednesday I went to the karaoke and it was a very good night. For one thing, my friend Cat was there, for once, and she always makes things a bit more interesting. For another thing, everyone was picking cool songs tonight and there was dancing. I sang two songs – the first one was called "It's Oh So Quiet" by Bjork. That was pretty good although I wasn't entirely comfortable with it 'cause it's a female song and I had to sing it an octave below. Later on I sang the song "Hash Pipe" by Weezer, which I've been wanting to sing for a long time – in fact I was saving it for an occasion when Cat could hear me singing it – it's just one of those songs that's really fun to sing and I could go wild without damaging my voice and I could bang my head like a real rock singer. That's the most fun I've had with karaoke in a long time.
That show Comedy Inc is a sketch comedy show. It's not funny. It's awful. The jokes don't work. But I watch it anyway, because I watch any sketch comedy show. It's like, the sketches take place in their own surreal little universe where they take the mickey out of pop-culture and everyday life, and there's something about that concept that I can't resist – it's like, someone's got to make jokes about the stupid things in this society, and I'll watch them no matter how lame they are.